So today I had my starting out as a researcher training event and my first formal meeting with my supervisor. The training was good, even though some of it was obvious, some of it too long and some of it information we’d been given previously. There was an overview of our rights and responsibilities, detail on the graduate schools and a (very nice) free lunch.
The morning session I’m sure was designed to freak us out. Cardiff (and a few other UK universities from what I’ve heard) are very keen on students completing in 3 years, and that 3 years is going to go very quickly. That did scare me, especially as I have so much to learn and not much spare time in which to learn it. They are very good with things like interruptions to study and so on though, so if I run out of money or decide to do the course part time instead I think they’ll be able to accommodate that. But still-there was an element of ‘Oh. My. God’ to it.
The afternoon did go better, though I’m sure part of that was the free food, and I did an online IT literacy thing that tells you where you need development on research skills, intellectual property right and copyright, and plagiarism. I scored above 90% in all of them which is apparently very good and means I don’t need to worry so much.
After that was the meeting with my supervisor, which was both good and overwhelming. The first thing he told me was don’t freak out, which was reassuring! There’re a few of us without a cultural studies background so I shouldn’t compare myself with those who know theories I don’t. That’s something I have been doing so it was nice to be told I’m an individual, will be treated as much and will do just as good a job. We then talked about the literature review, which should be 20,000 words, due in a year’s time. My lit review is going to look at representations of gender in the media, audience studies, fanfic and a bit on TV (creation of characters, etc) so a lot of stuff to cover. I’m going to look at the gender side first, so I’ve got to read about Clover’s ‘final girl’ and make detailed notes for our next meeting. We’ll have fortnightly meetings for the 1st semester at least, which I am happy with because this is going to be a steep learning curve for me.
He did caution against accepting any more conferences this year given I’m going to have so much else on, and would probably like me to not do the gender one I’m at in November, though did say not to drop out because I’ve already agreed to it. That means I probably won’t do the erotic adaptations one, which I really am gutted about because it’s so interesting! But it makes sense because I have so much to learn and read about and I am a bit scared that I’m working, doing conference papers and learning BA level theories while writing this! On the plus side though, in a year or so I’ll be able to submit chapters I’m writing to conferences, journals and even books, and be seen as an expert in my field rather than the girl who does this, that and the other (my words!).
He did say he’s a really hands on supervisor and will give detailed feedback, so that’s good. Given the review I had for the journal article I mentioned previously I’ll be much happier with detailed feedback! We also broke my thesis down into more easily manageable parts (5000 words for intro, 5-10,000 for methods, etc. means half’s written before we come to my actual research!) and I’ll be writing a chapter on Mulder, which pleases me (and makes sense given you can’t really talk about on without the other)! He did say it’s a lot of work and he expects me to put in the time and effort, but he also thinks it’s got the potential to be a really cool thesis when I’m done. So overall it was a really encouraging meeting, even with a bit of a ‘walk before you can run’ caveat!